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How Paris shapes up to LA, Rome and Hamburg

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How Paris shapes up to LA, Rome and Hamburg
Could Paris edge out the competition and play host to the 2024 Olympics? Photo: AFP
12:18 CEST+02:00
The race is on. The shortlist of cities to host the 2024 Olympics Games was officially announced on Wednesday, but can Paris see off competition from Los Angeles, Rome and Hamburg, not to mention Budapest?
The International Olympic Committee announced the shortlist on Wednesday, a list that features Paris, LA, Hamburg, Rome and Budapest.
 
And considering by 2024 it will have been 100 years ago since Paris last hosted the Olympic Games, surely it's time for another go, no?
 
The bitter taste left after being edged out by London for the 2012 Games is no doubt still lingering for Parisians, who some claimed were far too confident with their bid and took their eye off the ball.
 
And let's not forget they were pipped to the post by the Chinese when the Games went to Beijing four years earlier - and by Barcelona in 1992.
 

(Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo at the official launch of the Paris bid for the 2024 Olympics. Photo: AFP)
 
But has Paris learned its lesson from those defeats?
 
We already know that the budget has been trimmed, and won't be anything like the "no expense-spared" kind of proposal that helped Beijing win the Games. 
 
Indeed, the proposed plans would come at a cost of €6.2 billion, which is around half the cost of the recent London games.
 
If Paris does win, mostly existing infrastructure will be used for the events and the only thing that would need to be built is a swimming pool,  an Olympic village for the athletes, and a media centre.
 
 

(Beach volleyball by the Eiffel Tower? Photo: Istvan/Flickr)
 
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said that she was inspired to back Paris after witnessing the millions of Parisians who came together to march the streets in the wake of the January terror attacks.
 
"We aim to highlight the unity and the solidarity of a cosmopolitan city, which I am sure will be one of the key strengths to win," she said when officially announcing the Paris bid in June.
 
And by 2024, the French capital will no doubt be looking at its best thanks to the Grand Paris initiative, a massive construction project planned to begin in January next year.
 
The plan will see major transport links improved between central Paris and its inner suburbs - a concept that has been on the table for years and will transform Paris into a metropolis comparable to Greater London.
 

(Photo: AFP)
 
The project also appears to have the support of Thomas Bach, the German born president of the International Olympic Committee. He told reporters in April that Paris had put in "an exemplary application", adding that it was a "very, very strong candidacy", reported French channel BFMTV. 
 
The capital will be in form by 2024 when it comes to hosting international sporting events, hosting: The Fiba EuroBasket championship in 2015, the Uefa Euro football finals in 2016, the Fifa Women's World Cup in 2019, the World Men's Handball Championship in 2017, and golf's Ryder Cup in 2018.

With 79 percent of the French behind the idea, you'd think it was all but done and dusted. 
 
But the problem, as usual, is that there is stiff competition. Here's a look at some of the other cities that have thrown their own hats in the ring, and how Paris compares.
 
Paris vs Budapest
 

(Photo: AFP)
 
 
Budapest put in the latest bid of all five cities, nominating itself in July this year. The local public isn't extremely warm to the idea, with just 49 percent of Hungarians hungry for the Games compared to 79 percent of the French.
 
We still don't know too much about the Budapest bid, except that the budget is an impressively sleek €2.4 billion - the cheapest of all. In fact, this is Hungary's main argument for why it should host, taking advantage of the David and Goliath card in true Olympic spirit.
 
It's committee urged the IOC to take a chance on a smaller city for a change, citing the games of Stockholm and Helsinki in 1912 and 1956 respectively.
 
Budapest has lost bids for the games in 1916, 1920, 1936, 1944, and 1960. 
 
Paris vs Los Angeles
 
Los Angeles can lay claim to having the most recent experience of playing host, having held the summer Olympics in 1984. While that might feel like only yesterday for some of us, it will have been 40 years ago by the time 2024 rolls around.
 
The city will be acknowledged for its reputation of being a capable host, with some commentators noting the successful reductions to traffic in the city when the Games were being held in 1984.
 
But, as the LA Times noted, there are "too many ifs" in the 2024 bid.
 

(The Los Angeles Coliseum, which played host to the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics. Photo: AFP)
 
LA is likely to struggle, not least because it was a default entry after Boston pulled out late in the game.
 
Another obstacle for the Americans is that by 2024, the Games won't have been held in Europe for 12 years, since London in 2012. The IOC will be keen to keep Europe in the loop.
 
The US city, which calls itself the "Eastern Capital of the Pacific Rim" in the promotional video for the Olympics below, has budgeted €4.1 billion and expects €1.5 billion in private investments.
 
 
Paris vs Hamburg
 
Hamburg has never hosted the Olympic Games, and it appears that many of the residents aren't all that keen on the idea either.  There was a strong "no" campaign leading up to the official bid, and a recent survey found that 49 percent said they didn't think Hamburg had a good chance of winning.
 
Germany hasn't hosted the Games since 1972 in Munich, and it was actually the capital that had the strongest voice in the campaign for the bid. But, in March, Germany's interior minister announced that it would be Hamburg, in northern Germany, that would be putting its foot forward.
 
During its campaign for the bid, Hamburg had promised to build a brand new stadium for the Olympics, while the German Olympic Committee said Hamburg "offers a fascinating and compact Olympic concept and the development of a north German and north European metropolitan region can be promoted".
 
Details remain unclear about the Hamburg bid
 
Paris vs Rome
 
Paris and Rome: Two western European capitals, two massively popular holiday hotspots, and two fantastic backdrops for the games.
 
Rome is a strong candidate, and was the first city to officially announce its bid (back in 2014).
 
The Italian city has a smaller budget than the French (€4 billion compared to €6.2 billion), and has hosted the Olympics more recently than Paris (most recently in 1960).
 

(Photo: AFP)
 
Rome has the former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo at the helm of its bid for the Games, who has pointed out that existing infrastructure would be used, and that events could even be held in nearby cities like Florence, Naples, or Milan.
 
The biggest negatives for Italy are the concerns about the cost. Italy had to shelve its plans to bid for the 2020 games over rising costs as the country battled an economic crisis.
 
Rome's "professional campaign" has been praised by international sports officials, but it has been attacked in Rome by some politicians who fear that the Mafia could take over contracts.
 

(Rome's Colosseum. Photo: Richard Cyganiak/Flickr)
 
 
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